Not That Country Anymore


joanna_icon.gif jonas_icon.gif knox_icon.gif lexington_icon.gif logan_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif oleander_icon.gif pandora_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not That Country Anymore
Synopsis People gathered at the makeshift field hospital to have their injuries tended to discover that the country has changed since the hour of noon.
Date November 8, 2010

Staten Island: Reclaimed Zone

A crumbling parking garage.

The act of depressing the plunger makes no noise audible to the ears of those crowded in the cement parking structure that has been transformed into a makeshift triage center in the hours after riots broke out in Staten Island's reclaimed zone, and not because sparodic crackles of gunfire can be heard over the radio hissing and popping static in the background.

Reception isn't so great in here. In the shadow of a column with P1 spraypainted on it in faded white, Sasha retracts the needle from Melissa's arm and flicks its into the garbage bag at his feet, which is stuffed with strips of bloodied gauze and smells a little like urine. He does not work on other Evolved without negating them first, and Melissa is no exception, though the Russian has assured his former comrade that the effects of the drug will wear off before the hour is out, based on the dosage, and theorhetically there is no safer place on Staten Island to be than where they are right now.

Theoretically. A combination of blankets and tarps covers those that the center has not been able to save, and although no one has completed an official count, there are at least three dozen bodies cooling on the floor. The number would be less if the ambulance outside hadn't flipped over when swerving to avoid another vehicle, killing one of the three paramedics dispatched to convert the garage into what it is now. They were extremely lucky to find dedicated volunteers in Sasha Kozlow and Lexington Lane.

A man named John Logan is helping, too. In his own special way. Sasha flicks a glance in his direction, past where Lexington tends to a young woman with a broken leg, and then back to his current patient. A moment later, a bloodied bullet dug from Melissa's shoulder hits the pavement, and he presses a towel to the wound to staunch the flow. "Lexi," he barks softly, voice just loud enough to be heard over a low but rising moan of grief from somewhere among the dead. "I need you for stitching."

"I really hate being negated. You know that, right? And I could be helping everyone once," Melissa grumbles to Sasha. "Better than any painkillers you've got here anyway." She pauses when the bullet is dug out, her jaw tightening, but that's the only outward sign she gives to show that it hurt. "Least she could've shot the other arm. It already has scars," she mutters, glancing down to her shoulder, despite it being covered with a towel.

She looks over to the other two working, and her gaze lingers on Logan. She's heard his name before, she knows she has, she just can't remember in what context, or by who. "I can stay around. Help for a while. More first aid than medic, but I'm sure people'd appreciate a lack of pain."

Potentially, Melissa is a better pain killer than anything Sasha has here. But then again, Sasha does have Logan, and though he cannot take away pain… he can make it pretty awesome.

He's crouched in front of the woman with the broken leg, a hand resting warm on her wrist and eyes not so hooded that one can't see the bright green they shine with. Clothing is pragmatic, more or less, leather over cotton, denim and boots, and miraculously has managed to slither his way through Staten Island unscathed. Though he has a hand on the woman's arm, he is somehow managed to keep his distance, looking bored, or preoccupied.

But he is neither. Fear doesn't affect his ability, and isn't allowed to show on the surface. Whenever gunfire gets near, the lines at his eyes deepen briefly in a wince. He hasn't taken off his holster since arrival. Watching Lexington work on the woman, he lifts his attention when Sasha calls out to her, switching a glance to Melissa.

For now, Lexi is taping a splint to the woman's leg, offering her a kind squeeze on the shoulder when her name is barked out. "Ya rest up, now, lass," she says, her Irish accent thick on her words, "And I'll come check up on ya in a bit." Patpat. Not that she needs much reassurances, with Logan's help. "Ya better be savin' some of that magic touch for later, hun," she notes to Logan with a bit of a wink and a sly smile.

And then the redhead comes over to Sasha and Melissa, carrying her own little kit of medical supplies with her. "Callin' in the expert, I see," she greets the Russian with a crooked smile. And then, to Melissa she continues, "Don't ya worry, I have a far more delicate touch than this bear. And finesse! The scar'll be a work of art, I promise ya." And she opens her kit to pull out the more medical version of needle and thread. Although those will be used, too, when they start to run out of supplies in all this.

The corner of Sasha's mouth hooks up around a wolfish smile, no mirth and all teeth. "Da," he concedes humourlessly, "you could, but the stress— it is not conductive," someone has learned a new word, "to healing. Know your body's limits: doctor's orders." He rises to his feet, making room for Lexington to sit down on the folding chair he just vacated so she can sew Melissa's shoulder shut now that the bullet has been removed and cast aside.

"You should be looking for your Kendall," he adds. Then, with a nod toward the bodies, "Maybe you start under the covers." Wiping his hands off on the worn denim of his jeans, he crosses to Logan and lowers his eyes to the woman with the splint on her leg. More specifically: her breasts — to watch the rhythm of her breathing. She clenches bloodless fingers around the wrist at her arm and makes a small whimpering sound at the back of her throat that the Russian has heard before, although not from her but rather other women. They're almost all strangers here.

He'd be lying if he said he wasn't just a little bit jealous of the other man's ability.

"I have a question," he says.

Eyes narrow at Sasha's words about Kendall, and it's a good thing Melissa's negated, because otherwise Sasha would've just gotten blasted. A little blast. "Kendall is safe. He's with the Ferry. They're my next stop." One way or another. Since she still doesn't know which safehouse he's at.

She looks to Lexi then, trying to control her temper. "Honestly don't care if it's a work of art or not so long as it patches me up ASAP. I have enough scars that one more, jagged or neat, won't make a difference one way or another." Logan gets her attention next, and she asks curiously, "You a pain manipulator too?" she asks, though there's a touch of doubt in the words.

Wink and smile get at least a fraction of the latter from Logan, comma'd dimple at the corner of his mouth as he attends to the woman with her broken leg, holding very little back as he awashes her system with euphoria, and a subtle, perhaps strange chemically behavioural nudge towards not minding the pain of damaged bone. It probably won't last. Probably. Still, enough is enough, and Logan tugs his hand out of the clinging of his patient's with a wrinkle of his nose and a hasty shake, as if disturbed by her depedency.

"Not exactly," he tells Melissa, accent prim and proper, turning eyes that fade to fishbelly pale towards her. "I'm just distracting." The glow of euphoria will fizzle out in its own time, and after Logan's had those minutes to build it, it will at least take a while. Fixing his sleeve, he doesn't get up out of his crouch as he tosses a glance up at Sasha. Yes?

"He's a fun date, i'n't he?" Lexi says to Melissa when Sasha has gotten out of the way for her. "Oh, this is a nice li'l dent i'n't it?" she notes as she sits down, a smirk coming for Melissa's words. "Tough gal, I see." Lexi, for one, doesn't look like much of one herself, in her peasant blouse and tiered skirt. The boots help a little! "Well, then, it'll look as badass as I can manage it, luv."

Mel doesn't get a warning as Lexi takes needle to skin and starts stitching, but she does seem to know what she's doing, and she's swift about it, too. And soon enough, she's taping a bandage on the wound and giving her a pat on her less punctured arm.

"People!" A sudden shout comes rising up from down the ramp into the parking, lead by the sound of feet striking the concrete as a pair of glowing red eyes come bobbing up and down the dark corridor into where the triage center has been set up. The wiry young boy coming into the parking garage, with his plume of red hair atop his head and eyes an inhuman shade of vermilion skids to a stop.

Jonas Regan should have evacuated with the other Ferrymen, should be halfway on his way off of Staten Island by now, but he knew what happened in his vision. Knew he'd be on a helicopter that eventually crashed into the ground. There's no coming back from that. At least here, out of sight and out of mind, Jonas can be some help. A boy who can see in the dark makes a great scout, especially when the Military is out and hunting for terrorists.

On the heels of Jonas' warning that more are coming, the scuffing footsteps and murmur of other voices entering the parking garage are manifold. Ducking out of the way of the entrance for fear of being caught between Sasha and more patients, the migration of new faces is surprising. Or perhaps, on seeing the red scarves hanging around their necks, not surprising at all. Peter Petrelli fulfilled his promise of spreading the word about the triage center, for better or worse.

Benjamin Washington is leading the way, and while Knox is a short and wiry man rumors of his strength are known through residents of the Rookery where he has lived for going on two years now. The only one who seems to be unhurt, Knox's approach in in dusted leather jacket and bloodstained camouflage pants is an auspicious arrival.

Behind him, the broad and lumbering form of Oleander Thespuda is nursing a fresh headwound. The bald and aging man limps on a twisted ankle, his jacket shredded from a fight not the one Melissa remembers. They look to have sustained new injuries somehow.

"We got injured w'us…." Knox murmurs as he tries to find who might be in charge amongst the sobering scene. "Kids."

One of those kids is the little baby, seven months old, cradled in the arms of a woman of Japanese and Korean descent. Pandora Rasmussen has managed to escape injury herself, though it certainly looks like she was part of some sort of scuffle. When her baby wails, she's quick to lift her closer, kissing the whispy black hair on the crown of her head. "Ssshhhh, Junebug. We're here now," she assures in the Bronx-Brooklyn accent that doesn't seem like it should come from her lips.

"Somebody tell me how I can help." Far from seeming scared, Pandora shows only grim determination to make the best of this hellish situation.

"Tania," Sasha starts, but doesn't get any further than that. Someone is shouting, and his hackles are up; instinctively, he positions himself between Logan, a callused hand dipping to the small of his back to latch fingers around the grip of the pistol he keeps tucked into the waistband of his jeans, but seeing that the someone is Knox causes that same hand to drop a moment later, even if he doesn't back down from the Englishman's defense.

A paramedic with her hair pinned back into an unruly bun at the top of her head streaks forward to meet the group, doe-brown eyes moving between their faces. "Who's worst off?" is the first question out of her mouth, and as soon as she's asked it, a man in the back shoulders his way through with a middle-aged woman cradled in his arms, her blood soaked all the way through his sleeves, the bottom of his shirt and slacks.

"Her I.D. says her name is Joanna Renard," she says, and on the other side of the parking garage Sasha goes abruptly pale beneath his stubble. "She's shot. I don't know how bad."

Not counting Oleander, Knox, Pandora and Jonas, there are fourteen of them in total, most of them Ferrymen that Melissa might recognize from her time with the network before Noah Bennet's philosophy drove her from it. They recognize her, too, and while they might have had difficulty meeting her eyes in the past after her affiliation with Messiah was made known, the eighth has changed all that.

Anyone who isn't an enemy is an ally.

"Not exactly. Well that's helpful," Melissa mutters with a shake of her head. Lexi gets a shrug, with her left shoulder of course, even as she clenches her jaw again. "Not really. Pain's just my thing. Used to it. And if it's not as bad as what I've felt in the past, it's not bad at all." Which means no pain can ever be that bad again. Probably.

The entrance of more people she knows, including several Messiah members, has her stiffening and looking to Lexi again. "Work quickly. Those are my people. I've gotta help," she murmurs before calling out to Knox. "How many? Any more of ours?" she asks, glancing to Oleander, guilt taking her moment. She had to hurt them both, but it didn't mean that she enjoyed it. Honest.

When she sees the rest of the people brought in, her expression hardens and she looks to Lexi again. "Quicker. Dammit. I hope those drugs wear off soon," she mutters, looking like she's about to say 'fuck it' and forget about her own minor injury.

Dropped off out of the sky - not literally dropped - by an individual in white that frankly, most of the Ferry if they're smart know who it is, Joanna's hands press feebly to her middle as if that might stop the blood that sluggishly pools then spills as she's moved from outside to inside. Splatters left on the ground and tops of buildings as Magnes in white - likely now red - carted her here for medical attention, the P1 on the wall is no surprise. She's known this was coming since she saw the holes in herself two seconds after the report of the gun going off.

"Russian." Weak, blood in a trickle from the corner of her mouth, she's not even panicking at the painted combination of letter and number. So this was it. Five days after her birthday. Barely forty-three. Tasha'd be left with a father on the run and a mother six feet under. Would Tasha visit her? Often? "The Russian. The Russian." Redbird Security never did get back to her.

And then she sees him, tilting her head away from the man carrying her. It's then she panics, starting hyperventilating at the sight of the man who holds her hand while she dies, fingers tightening against her middle.

On his feet by the time more people are rushing in, Logan doesn't move and instead allows Sasha to insert himself between biochem manipulator and the onslaught of people, mind else where at the name Tania. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Whatever that question was going to be, John is reasonably sure he doesn't know the answer. Brief irritation fizzles into dull apathy, hand resting on his holstered gun without extracting it as he listens to the exchange.

"I can only do one at a time," he says, mostly so quiet that only Sasha will get it and understand, edged tension in Logan's voice. His demeanor implies that he could— and might— bail any second. The fact that he's happily standing behind Sasha indicates that he probably won't.

Then there's that name, Renard, and though he's not about to blanch at prophecies coming true, Logan does exhale a snort in response, tilting to peer at her.

"Keep your panties on, Tiger," Lexi says to Melissa with a crooked smile. But when she's done, she waves her out of the space. Make room for the next. She steps over to the group, taking Oleander by the arm to support that ankle. "Come and sit down, luv, before ya fall over." She's got a think for big guys, she can't help it.

"See if you can find space for everyone t'sit," Lexi says to Melissa, hoping that giving her a job will keep her from overtaxing her arm. But she knows the type, there's little hope of that. "You know about triage? Get them organized, alright?"

"Jus' me an' Oleander," Knox explains as the larger man limp on his way over. "Ran inta' Peter on his way thorugh midtown, fixin' us up. He said there was gonna' be somewhere safe t'be down here, told us t'hang out on our way. So we figured crossin' over onto Staten wasn't such a bad idea. Went down t'Battery park and jacked a boat, got it down to the north shore of the Rookery and ran inta' these kids. Dunno what their story is, but they was bein' chased by some soldier-boys with guns. We had ourselves a meetin' of the minds, then I broke some necks."

Knox turns dark eyes over to Sasha, vague recognition painted across his features as he gives the surgeon a slow nod. "Oleander busted his ankle up pretty good runnin'. We lost four or five people on the way. Didn't stop t'see how bad anybody was…"

Oleander slowly limps up past Knox with Lexington's help, offering her a humble and apologetic smile as if he is worried he's being a bother. Dark eyes sweep around the parking garage. "I'm fine," Oleander dismisses quietly, moving over to an open spot of asphalt to lever himself down to sit with Lexi's aid. "You take care of them kids and that woman, I'll sit my black ass down an' wait till there ain't people screamin'." He manages something of a weak smile at that.

"That was impressive," Pandora utters quietly in regards to Knox's neck-snapping abilities. "We didn't have time to stop and help them," there's some guilt there, for the ones left behind, but it's what had to happen.

There's a tube of lipstick in Sasha's pocket that he has been using to mark the dying. A cross on the forehead to designate those too far gone to be saved. Prophecy demands that he be fishing it from his jeans as the paramedic helps the Ferryman lay Joanna down on a tarp as carefully as they can, mindful not to make her injuries any worse than they already are. "Christ," the paramedic mutters under her breath. "Christ."

Sasha moves toward her in silence, pausing only to steer a look over his shoulder at Logan. He can only do one at a time.

He'd like him to do this one. Please.

"We were evacuating from the Brick House," the Ferryman says for Melissa's benefit, some of his companions crowding around to get a better look at Joanna on the floor. None of them are injured as badly as she is, but many of them have faces streaked with blood like tribal warpaint, and their eyes are all very dark. "They hit us as we were coming out, like they knew we'd be there. We're supposed to rendezvous with the others after nightfall at the Red Hook. Communications say Ruskin's got a way out of the city— what's left of it anyway."

The tube of lipstick is fat and clumsy in his hand, a thick finger of deep carmine housed in a gold shell with the letters M.A.C. emblazoned lengthwise across the side, but only some of the red on his palms, tacky and glutinous, is made of the same wax and oil that composes women's make-up.

There's blood everywhere. Not just on Sasha's hands, the front of his densely-knit sweater or his denim-clad thighs, but the cement under his feet, the blankets that cover the bodies laid out on the floor of the crumbling parking garage like toy soldiers ready to be packed back into their wooden chest.

He takes a knee at Joanna's side and uses his free hand to smooth hair away from a face gone paler than the paint that's supposed to section off one parking space from the next, though it's much too dark inside the structure for him to see much of anything except the sheen of fever sweat dripping off her pallid skin and his own reflection in eyes made bright by the tears swelling in them.

She feels cold.

A flashlight flicks on and a glance at the woman's midsection confirms his suspicions. Two puncture wounds ooze bubbling black fluid at a rate that's almost certainly fatal.

With a quickness that seems at odds with the state that she's in, Joanna's hands clamp around his wrist, trying to drag him down. Not in an attempt to beg for help though, plead to not die. Sometimes, you just know that there's nothing that can be done. If they could, she would have been placed on a gurney and rushed to the hospital, not left here with other dead.

"Tasha—" Joanna is abruptly cut off by the Russian's hand clamped roughly over her mouth. He knows the message. Has been in the parking garage before. Knows how it ends.

Or is supposed to.

And you know what? Fuck it. Sasha tosses the tube of lipstick to Jonas.

"Lexi," he says, "Come and help. Logan," and he looks back over his shoulder again when he says it, "your ability— can it slow her heart?"

Melissa shakes her heat Lexi. "I don't know triage. I know how to remove a bullet and slap on a bandage. That's it. Since Mister Genius over there negated me, I'm useless except for finding people places to sit." And she gives Sasha a dirty look to go along with her words. But as she gets up and slips her coat back on, she's giving those who just came in her attention.

She nods to the Ferrymen as they explain, grimacing. "So Ruskin's safe. Good. Who else got out alright, ahead of time? Were any of the other safehouses hit?" she asks, moving to help Lexi get Oleander to a seat.

Joanna can't talk for the hand across her mouth, but eyes say it all and tears leak from the sides of her eye's nostrils flare and relax as she breathes and and out harshly, following the trajectory of lipstick till it's gone out of her line of vision. Then back to Sasha's as he looks to others. Tell her I love you bee bottom. She can't say it, but she can think it.

Drifting along with less urgency than those that have medical inclinations, Logan is standing somewhere behind Sasha when the Ruskie asks that question, getting a quizzical frown from Briton. The answer forming on his tongue is no, probably, but it doesn't happen — he pinches the long bridge of his nose as he thinks, characteristic silence descending as brain-wheels turn. Tries to remember his homework, those text books Caliban would supply him with, his own personal experience for all that he is unable to test his own power on himself.

A second later, he moves to crouch down low at Joanna's feet, reaching out a hand to place it on her ankle, so as best to keep his distance and make room. "Dunno," he answers Sasha. He's only ever made people's hearts pound, in panic or bliss. But then he also only ever used to hook people, and he discovered the opposite of that—

Adrenaline stops, her body denied any access to it, a muted sort of calming effect that isn't as powerful as anything else Logan can do, and this his eyes only gleam faintly green as opposed to warning poison highlit jade.

"Well, then, pick a body and get to work," is the reply to Melissa's words as Lexington glances over to Sasha at the call of her name. She gives him a nod before she looks back to Oleander with a cute little crooked smile. "You get comfortable, luv, and save a spot on your dance card for me," she says before she slips off to Sasha's side.

Gut wounds aren't pretty, and Lexi doesn't mind the blood — any of it — as she kneels next to Joanna. "Don't worry so much, we don't let the pretty ladies go so easy," she says, her voice soft, calming, soothing. But she's setting up the kits and getting things ready for Sasha, and for her to assist. She isn't afraid, they've been through too many wounds today for one to reach in and grab her heartstrings, but with it comes a clarity of mind and a focus. She's here to do a job and she's going to do it right.

"There anythin' I can do?" Knox anxiously asks as he looks around, hands jittering and fingers flexing open and closed repeatedly. There's a lot of fear here, a lot of terrified people, and Knox can hardly keep himself still with the smell of all that in the air, filling him with a misplaced sense of invincibility from his superhuman strength.

Oleander is much more docile, the grizzly bear of the group, with his bad leg stretched out and a smile offered up to Lexington as he watches her move away. "Well, I can't say no to a face like that, I'll be right here on this cold floor, hopin' that I don't catch my ass a cold on top of a bum ankle." Half sarcastic with the comment, Oleander reaches down to rests a hand on his knee, then looks up to Knox with a slow and worried shake of his head.

"I'm— " Jonas slips around behind Knox, giving him a wide berth. "I'm going to go check outside," the wiry redhead comments, "keep an eye out for anyone else coming. Hollar if you need me for anything." Turning his back on the triage center, Jonas offers an askance look down to Joanna, pausing in mid-stride as if he partly recognizes her.

Shaking his head and dismissing the notion, the young boy continues his trek back down the ramp under the sight of his night vision.

Pandora's gaze follows where Joanna is laid down and tended to. She thinks it's a lost cause, but she doesn't know what tricks are up the sleeves of the people in charge of medical care around here. Maybe the poor woman can be saved.

There's no shortage of adrenaline running in the the young mother's veins. She looks almost as restless as Knox, though for entirely different reasons. She cradles tiny Junko closer to her chest, bouncing her anxiously. She wants to do something. Help someone. Punch someone in the face. Anything'll do, really. Instead, she watches Melissa's movements. Something to do.

Jonas does not get very far. The sound of a rumbling engine stops him short at the bottom of the ramp, followed by the metallic clatter of a truck's tailgate clattering open. A group of uniformed soldiers are moving from a truck parked outside behind the overturned ambulance and heading toward the parking structure, their lead with a clunky radio cradled against his ear.

Inside, the kit Lexington has gone to the pains of popping open will still be necessary, though perhaps not as necessary as she thinks. The hand not covering Joanna's mouth splays over the woman's midsection, and while there might not be any sort of glow emanating from his fingers like the light Logan's eyes give off, it's clear that something is happening because the wound begins to close up on its own in the drawn-out seconds that follow. It's a slow, creeping process, and one that the Russian doesn't follow through to completion. Sasha's healing power penetrates only as deep as it needs to and no further.

Joanna Renard is going to live, but she's going to live with pain for the rest of her life, however long or short it promises to be.

When he takes his hand away, the gaping wound in her midsection is considerably smaller than it was a few minutes ago but no less angry or raw. With Logan's help, he's bought them all some additional time with which to work.

It might not be very much. The nearest soldier reaches out and grabs Jonas by the scruff, hauling him back up the ramp.

Oleander's words prompt Melissa to tug off her trench coat and drape it over the man. It has a bullet hole in it, but it's still warm. For the most part. It's given silently and shows off the gun tucked into a holster at the small at her back, before she glances around, grimacing and looking frustrated. But with Oleander as settled as she can make him, she moves towards the Ferry people. "Anyone got something simple? Bullet? Cut? Anything like that?"

Already things are changing, people there who were not there before, a lack of red lipstick being drawn across her forehead and something happening in her belly that she doesn't know what, doesn't involved anyone's extremities up to their elbows in her midriffs, but the pain does take a turn, going left instead of right. But Logan's ability working tandem to keep her calm, or calmer that she might otherwise be, looking up at the faces of the people above her, oblivious to the soldiers and Jonas.

With his gaze set on the woman on her back, Logan concentrates, as if willing his own system to mimic the changes going on in Joanna's. An arm looped around his knees in a gargoyle-like crouch, feet together and chin tucked in, that arm out to maintain the link between them. Pistol digs against its ribs, but there is comfort in discomfort, fingers making a music fidget one by one against the bony ankle they rest upon. "Is it working?" he asks, of himself, just as movement out the corner of his eye turns his head and tenses his spine.

"Well, now," Lexi says, looking from the wound to Sasha and back again, "Everybody in here's got a magic touch, don't they?" Reaching over for their instruments, she gives Joanna a pat on the cheek for reassurance before she goes diving for bullets. "Can someone hold her…?" It's been a few months since she and Seamus were on the run, but this is a practiced skill. It does, however, tend to hurt.

Scuffing footfalls and a throb of fear from Jonas' direction has Knox turning around sharply indistraction. A sudden wave of adrenaline washes over him as he notices the young man being hauled up the ramp by the camouflage-dressed soldiers. "Shit!" Knox calls out, taking a few steps back and looking for a direction to find cover in. He hasn't had a gun for days now, and this is the last place he wants to get cornered in by the military.

Oleander only notices when Knox's profanity draws his attention. "Hey would you watch your mouth there's kids— " then he sees the soldiers hauling Jonas up the ramp. "Oh hell, oh hell— oh hell naw." Trying to hustle to his feet, Oleander's burly frame and weight works against him, using one leg and both hands, braced against a concrete pillar as he tries to rise up to stand.

Pandora's moment spent frozen is fortunately brief. Transferring Junko to one arm, she's quick to hurry to Oleander's side, helping to drag him up off the floor. They were supposed to be safe here! What the hell happened?

"We have injured here," the woman barks part fearfully, and part accusingly. Pandora's eyes are wide on the soldiers. "We need help!" Maybe, just maybe she can convince them that nobody here needs to be arrested… Her black eyes shift to Knox. …Or shot.

"Yes," Sasha tells Logan and, at Lexington's request, braces his hand against Joanna's shoulder to pin her to the tarp. The other still hasn't left her mouth, maybe to keep her from screaming. Removing bullets does tend to hurt, and he'd rather not attract any attention from the outside.

Until Knox cries out, he has no way of knowing that the arrival of the two surviving Messiah operatives and Ferrymen already have. Without breaking his stride, the soldier dragging Jonas produces a pistol from his belt and in one smooth motion brings it up. The first shot he squeezes off punches through Oleander's skull, spraying the side of Pandora's face and her baby with a wet spatter of blood mixed with brain matter. The second catches Knox in the neck and sends him to the pavement.

That he's still alive when he hits the concrete seems not to matter to the soldier. His mouth set into a grim line, he stops a few meters away from the gathering but does not release his hold on Jonas. Six more soldiers, their rifles at the ready, flow up the ramp behind him and raise their weapons, muzzles pointed at the Ferrymen evacuees. They're swift to separate those standing closest to Oleander's corpse, including Pandora, from Logan, Lexington, Joanna and the rest, and when one of them moves as if to help Knox he receives a rifle butt to his face for his efforts, and goes staggering back with blood streaming from a broken nose.

Wisely, Sasha keeps his head down, his focus solely on Joanna.

"Who's in charge here?" the lead soldier asks, and his voice isn't the voice of a man who just killed two people in cold blood. There's something almost cheerful about it, and maybe that has something to do with where they are, and the colour of the scarves draped around Oleander and Knox's necks.

This is Staten Island, and Staten Island is where the Institute's hospital facility used to be, and although Messiah and the Ferry dealt the Reclaimed Zone's local military a crippling blow, it was by no means fatal.

There were survivors. Survivors like the man with Jonas in his steel trap grip.

When Knox cries out Melissa's hand automatically reaches for her pistol, and when Oleander is just shot in cold blood, her eyes go wide and the look on her face is enraged. But her gaze flicks around the room, noting the people she knows are good in a fight, and the people who seem to be unarmed, then she looks at Sasha again, before looking back to the soldier.

"What right do you have to come in here and shoot people in cold blood you asshole? Can't you tell a field hospital when you see one? These people were hurt in the rioting going on outside, or maybe you haven't noticed it?" she asks in a thickly sarcastic voice, moving slowly away from the others. Hopefully, at least she'll draw attention away from those who can't fight, or the woman with a baby.

The blam blam of bullets disguise the scream that comes from the assistant district attorney that batters against Sasha when Lexington's tools start to dig around for one of the two bullets in her abdomen. This is not how one should do exploratory surgery, if you want to call it that and the soldiers with their cruel looks and actions might as well be mice squeaking on a wheel in a case for all the attention that the dark haired woman devotes to them as she starts to cry in earnest. It could be worse, surely it could be worse? Her heart could be racing. Thank you Logan for that.

Except now Joanna suddenly knows a spike of adrenaline in tandem with Logan knowing it himself at gunfire and invasion, but their connection is severed when the Brit is scurrying back, his green eyes ringed with white and jaw dropping at the sight of the sudden murders playing out in the parking complex. Knee jars, old scars and tension twinging with movement, his hand ducking towards his own pistol until he thinks of the better weapon he happens to have on him.

"Me," strikes loud at the tail end of Melissa's sarcasm, and quite suddenly. "Ignore her, she's— uh. Suffering from blood loss. Hello, officers." His hands are open, fingers splayed and gripping nothing as Logan awkwardly gets to his feet, right leg stiff. Mostly, he just—

Imagines it'd be a disaster if Sasha spoke up. It won't be the first time Logan lawyered for him. Rage is a legitimate reaction to cold blooded shooting, but so is fear. Melissa can have the former, and Logan is happy with displaying the latter, even as he takes a step forward. Registration card slipped from his pocket, slightly blood smeared over the course of the day, is turned over in display. Before they frisk him for it and take his gun. Voice contains reserve as he adds, "How can I help you?"

"I'm sorry, luv," Lexi is just saying to Joanna. At least gunshots going off over her head don't seem to phase her. Those hands are steady as they work. She doesn't look up, either, but this is less a choice to hide and more because she's in the middle of something sorta delicate. "I left my giant magnet at home, though," she continues to Joanna in an even tone, "so this'll have to do…" and hey! She actually finds a bullet, pulling it out with a pair of long tweezers and dropping it on the ground next to her before she continues checking the woman's insides out. Making sure there's nothing left in there before she stitches her up.

On the ground and clutching at his throat, Knox gasps for air, his fingers curling into the pavement in a way that defies human capability. He chokes, gurgles, spits and writhes in agony from the blood pulsing into his lungs. Gasping like a fish, his eyes go wide and one hand reaches up for the soldier holding Jonas by the scruff of his neck, but inability to wrap those fingers around a neck and squeeze means that Knox's strength — great as it is — has filled him with little more than impotent rage.

It only takes a few more seconds for him to stop moving, his last sight of Oleander laying on his side, a large chunk of his skull missing, blood pooling out beneath him. They had come here to be safe, to get away from the danger, and now — now — after surviving the Company, surviving Moab, surviving Rupert, Benjamin Washington dies alone on a cold stone floor surrounded by strangers.

Unable to do anything.

Pandora's eyes squeeze shut when shots are fired, an instinctual flinch that happens just in time to spare her eyes from being painted with blood and the meatier bits of Oleander's skull. She can taste the copper on her lips. All she can do is gasp in shock. Unable to protest when she's steered toward the other fleeing members of the Ferry network, clutching her child tightly to her chest, who's now screaming at the top of her lungs from all the commotion.

And Junko Rasmussen can scream like few other infants can.

"Sh. Sh. Sh. Sh." Breathing too quickly, Pandora can barely manage a proper shushing sound against the top of her child's head. She's almost more horrified by the blood speckling her little Junebug's skin and blanket than she is by Oleander's death. Who does that so close to a baby? Bravery is gone. All that's left now is fear.

And the only one left her fear serves is laying dead on the floor.

"Red scarves," one of the soldiers says, and although his words are addressed to Melissa, his rifle remains pointed at Pandora. "Messiah. They weren't people." Knox's scarf might be white, for all he knows. The blood pulsing from the gunshot wound in his neck has stained it an even deeper crimson and spreads out under his head in a thickening pool.

The lead soldier gestures to Logan with his pistol. "Check his I.D.," he says, and one of the men under his command breaks off from the other six, moving toward the Englishman to do that.

"Quiet," Sasha implores Joanna. The blonde paramedic leaves the brunt of the work to Lexington's skilled hands, not because she has faith in the other woman's skill, but because she's too stunned to do anything except hold Joanna down by her other shoulder. Very likely, she's thinking the same thing that Melissa is.

She just isn't saying it.

"Are these," the lead soldier now waves his pistol in the general direction of the ring his men have formed around the Ferrymen evacuees, "the only ones who were with them?" Of the fifteen that escaped being rounded up at the Brick House and managed to make their way here, ten of them have been separated from the others, and that includes Jonas. The remaining five are either too scared or too smart to make a run for it.

Most of them resist the urge to look at Logan when the question is asked.

There's nothing he and Melissa can do to help those the soldiers view as part of Messiah, or Messiah sympathizers— or however else the government is going to spin it when this gets out. But the rest—

Eyes flick to Logan when he speaks, and Melissa frowns at him, but doesn't speak. At first. She glances at Knox, and when she notices the lack of movement, sorrow crosses over her face. It's quickly followed by rage. It's too tame to be called simply anger. Those were her allies. Comrads in arms. And now they're just dead. Again she wishes, very strongly, that she wasn't negated, as she looks back to the man in charge.

Her voice is cool when she speaks, barely controlled. "There are probably millions of people who own red scarves. Do you really think that every one of them is a member of a terrorist organization?" She shakes her head slowly, keeping her gaze fixed on that face, memorizing it. If he's not dead tonight, she'll be looking for him later. "You're worse than they ever were. Ever could've been. And I'll be damn sure that my uncle, Director Pierce of Homeland security, knows exactly how soldiers are dealing with Messiah." If ever there was a time to drop names, this is it. Right?

She does, however, do one smart thing. She digs out her registration card as well, holding it out so it can be clearly seen, though her hand is trembling lightly with the supressed anger.

You be quiet ?! Joanna wants to yell at Sasha as Lexington roots around still, the sensation one that Joanna never ever wants to feel again, things digging in through your innards, moving aside organs for that little drop of metal in her abdomen. She tries though, cessation of Logan's ability not working as she stifles her noises down to whimpers, nearly rearing up at one point and would have if the two weren't holding her down while the others deal with the soldiers. Why she hasn't just passed out, maybe it's because Renards and Lazzaro's are made of sterner stuff, or maybe it's because Joanna's afraid that if she closes her eyes, they'll never open again.

Air hisses between Logan's teeth in a sharp inhale, negotiator glancing towards Melissa as she says her piece, mouth twitching cynically. It's either a stupid lie or— useless truth, if the dead men on the ground have anything to say about it. "Wait, just— " He takes back his card once it's inspected, glancing back at Sasha, than towards the group.

"We're not treating Messiah," he sneers, trying to channel brief panic into snarl. "Fucking terrorist bullshit is what got us all into this mess, we're just trying to stay alive. Look around you, at all of us. They were here before, waiting for treatment, they didn't come in with them," and he points to the dead men. Dead is dead. Even if Logan was in the business of protecting dignity— he isn't— then it shouldn't count when it comes to people bleeding out and their brains spattered on the ground.

He slips his Registration card back into his pocket. "Any of you blokes need a place to park yourselves, you're welcome," is only a little wavery.

Unfortunately, Lexi has to cut a bit here and there when she finds the second bullet, giving herself some room to get in there and pull it out. But the good news is that it does come out, and the Irish gal looks over at Sasha, holding it up in an odd sort of bloody triumph. "I think that's everything," she says, followed by a sort of weak laugh. it's a brief sound.

Her hands get wiped off on her skirt, adding yet another stain of blood to it before she reaches for a more sterile option for Joanna's skin, wiping off the blood before she adds. "We can stitch now. Almost over, hunny, I promise on my Da's grave. You're doing beautifully," she adds to Joanna. And she seems to be volunteering to do the stitching, too, because Sasha looks like he'd be better if this comes to a fight. And in her experience… it always comes to a fight.

It's all Jonas can do at the moment to not piss himself in current company. Living on the street as long as he has, he knows when to shut up and suck up his pride and do what it takes to survive no matter the cost. With his shirt and jacket jacket up like they are by the soldier's vice grip, the black tatoo of a feather on his hip bone is visible in the lighting of the parking garage. He may have gotten it out of admiration for someone, but Eileen Ruskin isn't here right now, and he has no illusions about the fact that she probably wouldn't save him even if she were.

He can dream, though, for however much longer he had a brain inside of his head to dream with.

Probably longer than Melissa.

Pandora's eyes only grow wider as Melissa speaks, panic rising in tandem with the bile burning the back of her throat. "No! I just wanted to get my baby to safety!" She cries, seeing the situation about to go from worse to worst, bad having long since been bypassed.

Fear overrides good sense, and Pandora, shrieking baby in her arms, bolts like a frightened rabbit.

There's a moment where the lead soldier's mouth looks like it's about to part around the words: Put her in with the others. But before he gets the opportunity, Logan is cutting back in and stills his tongue. His eyes squint partway shut, and he looks between those bracketed between his men and those who aren't, searching their faces for any truth in what the Englishman has to say.

The garage can almost feel the scales tip back and forth as he weighs two possibilities against each other. Either he executes ten innocent civilians or he turns ten terrorists loose again.

Neither option is particularly palatable.

When Pandora breaks from the group, attempts to shove past two of the soldiers and scatter for the ramp, her nose meets the same fate as that of the man who'd rushed to Knox's aid. The sound of bone splintering is almost as loud as a gunshot and the echo it produces could even be mistaken for one.

"Let five of them go," the lead tells the soldier who'd attempted to bring Melissa's attention to the scarves, arriving at his final decision in a voice a great deal quieter than the one he used when he first demanded to know who was in charge, but no less resolute. "I'll let you pick which, but take the baby."

Because five, including little Junko, is exactly half of ten.

One of the soldiers wrestles the infant from her mother's arms. Another digs the muzzle of his rifle between Pandora's ribs to ensure her cooperation while the others pick out the youngest of the surrounded group and force them outside of the circle, and even though the young mother is only thirty, she is not among them. For whatever reason, neither is Jonas.

Those unlucky enough not to be chosen put up very little protest, even as the lead soldier instructs his men to, "Line them up against the wall."

Maybe they believe this is the part where the handcuffs come out and they get arrested.

Melissa clenches her jaw but says nothing at the soldier's new orders, but the feel of the pistol against her back is a very comforting, very noticeable weight. But she's not going to say anything to prevent those five from leaving. Even as she watches people herded towards the wall, even while she's very much not thinking that this is where handcuffs come out, she glances at Sasha, at Logan, looking for some sign on their faces that they want to act. That they're ready to act.

Lexington can pat and assure all she wants, Joanna's just hit that point where one pain melds with the other and melds with reality, soldiers arguing, a baby crying, the guy with the really great eyes playing peacemaker over something and the cracks in the cement above her head.

Acting is something Logan does good at, day to day. Act, singular, that silent bid he's dealt his way, is not what is written in his expression when Melissa glances to him. He catches her glance briefly but he just sort of sees through her instead, then studies the ground, hands resting on his hips with his holster and pistol concealed beneath leather jacket, and decidedly staying there. Edges a step closer to Kozlow, but that's all the movement he makes.

Lexington has gotten out of these situations before by keeping her head down and not drawing attention to herself. But these are just kids… and usually, it's just her getting shot at she's got to worry about. And Joanna is left with a sort of halfway stitched wound as Lexington stands up to her feet.

"I thought this was supposed to be America. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Freedom has been this country's rallying cry since it's birth and you are going to do a coin toss to see which of these wounded kids you're going to kill today?" Of course, when she did draw attention to herself, she always decided to go big. "Look at them! They're hurt and need medical attention. And that is all we're trying to do here, stitch up the wounded that got caught up in all this fucking… mess. Let us do that. Post a guard if you want, but unless you've got some proof on you that any one of them was involved in anything bad, back off. And if you do have proof, by all means, come in with arrest warrants and handcuffs." It is possible she has no idea what's been going on outside of this little field hospital.

Pandora stumbles back, dazed when the gun connects with her face, splitting skin and cracking bone. Her baby wails harder as blood pours from the wound and makes a further mess of her mouth and chin, some of it following the curve under and making its way toward her throat to stain the collar of her shirt, while more drips down on to the baby clutched tightly in her mother's arms. For only a few minutes more.

Mizuki Mimura Rasmussen, called Pandora, screams and wails as her precious child is pried from her arms. "Junie! JUNIE!" Her voice cracks from the volume behind it, leaving no one wondering which side the child got her powerful lungs from. She struggles and bawls all the way to the wall, her pleas incoherent and broken. A squeaking and hoarse cacophony of bloody murder.

In the past, Sasha was the one putting people up against the wall, and he watches the procession with grim fascination.

What happens in Chechnya can happen in America, too.

Pandora, Jonas and the three remaining Ferrymen are escorted to the back of the parking lot and made to face the cement. They are not asked to put their hands where they can see them or to get down on their knees.

The shots ring out one at a time instead of simultaneously, and the lead soldier's second-in-command moves down the line from right to left. A middle-aged man with a salt-and-pepper beard slumps forward against the wall and leaves a dark smear where his head comes into contact with it. A woman clutching her rosary to her throat falls beside him, and so does the woman beside her.

The last thing they hear are Lexington's words echoing through the parking garage. Some more of them than others. The lead soldier watches the redhead coldly, saying nothing until Pandora's turn arrives, and then it's, "This isn't that country anymore."

Her screaming is cut short by the second-to-last report, and the soldier who had been forced to hold her in place then eases her down with a degree of care he does not deserve to display.

Jonas is last.

As the shot rings out Jonas crumples forward against the wall, his arms flagging at his side until he collides with the concrete and leaves a long, dark red streak down the stone. By the time the redhead hits his knees he's already dead, the soldier at least had the courtesy to properly aim his shot to that the boy suffered as little as possible.

When he lands with knees bent on his side, his eyes shift from a pale red to a milky white of his actual, blind eyes. Staring up vacantly at the ceiling of the parking garage, his silence is masked by the sounds of muffled sobbing from some of those who were not summarily executed.

This isn't that country anymore.

It turns out that Melissa didn't have that time to act. When the shots are fired she jumps and her breathing comes more quickly. "Jonas," she whispers with regret, closing her eyes for a brief moment until the last shot is silenced. A moment of silence for everyone who was needlessly killed tonight. People she's worked with. Stood beside in a fight.

She moves then, slowly, towards the soldier with the baby, her hands held up in the universal symbol of I'm unarmed, don't shoot. "I'd like to take the baby. She doesn't belong with soldiers, and since her mother's dead, she has no one. Please, let me take her," she says, voice soft, but there's no mistaking the steel underneath it.

Melissa Pierce may have a phobia regarding babies, but some things are more important.

"You're damn right it isn't! I've seen more justice in fascist regimes! In the fucking backwater third world countries! I hope you all can sleep well tonight! It wasn't a terrorist lining up people against the wall tonight, fellas!" Oh, Lexington is just mad. And more mad because… that anger is completely impotent.

The soldiers have no use for a baby, and to bring one with them wherever it is that they're headed next will only slow them down. The man holding Junko shoulders his rifle and passes her to Melissa without complaint, and maybe there's something like remorse in his eyes when he refuses to meet her gaze but it could just as easily be her imagination.

His commander has no such compunctions, and as Lexington seethes herself hoarse, he studies her face, her mouth, the flash of her teeth. He won't be sleeping at all, not because of what happened in here, but rather because of what's still happening out there. The roar of a fighter jet streaking overhead fills the emptiness in the garage that follows and, remembering himself, he turns toward the ramp.

Issues a gravelly, "Move."

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